Mission Statement
The mission of the Spinal Cord Damage Research Center is to improve quality of life and increase longevity by identifying, intervening, and/or preventing the secondary medical consequences of individuals with a spinal cord injury.

The investigators in our Center strive to make available to our health care providers a greater awareness and understanding of medical complications associated with reduced activity and paralysis. Better recognition and treatment of these adverse secondary conditions result in improved quality of medical care and quality of life for Veterans and non-Veterans with spinal cord injury. 



Advances in the treatment of spinal cord injury have been slow but steady over the last century. The multiple adverse impacts of chronic spinal cord injury on an individual’s health had too often remained overlooked, underappreciated and, hence, under treated. The Spinal Cord Damage Research Center addresses the complex medical and rehabilitation issues that result from acute and chronic spinal cord injury with the aim to identify problems more fully and completely, and to then develop efficacious treatments through the efforts of basic scientists and clinical investigators.

In 1990, The Spinal Cord Damage Research Center was established by Dr. Bauman who recognized the need to focus more attention and effort on understanding the health issues that persons with spinal cord injury face on a daily basis. This approach was effective in permitting the Center’s investigators to development treatment options for those with paralysis. Thus, a better understanding of the health problems that arose after spinal cord injury would make it possible to develop more appropriate ways to prevent or reverse these adverse medical and rehabilitation medicine conditions.  It was the vision of Drs. Bauman and Spungen to enable the Center’s investigators to develop better treatment options for those with paralysis.


Ann Spungen, EDd, Associate Director of SCDRC, Rosalyn S. Yalow, PhD, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology (1977), Senior Scientist, Department of Veterans Affairs, Professor of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, William Bauman, MD, Director of SCDRC, Vivian Beyda, DrPH, Associate Executive Director United Spinal Association



James J. Peters

Executive Director of the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA)

The Spinal Cord Damage Research Center was made possible by the strong financial support of Mr. James J. Peters, the Executive Director of Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, and Dr. Bauman then received administrative support from the Director of the VA Medical Center and the President of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It cannot be overemphasized that the initial, generous, and unflagging support by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association played a major role in the eventual success of the Center. After the Center’s inception, Dr. Bauman was awarded funding for an investigator-initiated grant proposal from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Research & Development, and then, shortly thereafter, support was forthcoming from by the Spinal Cord Research Foundation, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the Department of Defense, pharmaceutical companies, and private donors. Additional support from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Research & Development was also obtained. Dr. Spungen, currently the Associate Director of the Spinal Cord Damage Research Center, joined Dr. Bauman in the summer of 1990, during the early days of the Center when its scientific activities were in their formative stages. As the scientific community began to appreciate the importance of the work initiated by this research unit, financial support from multiple sources was more readily attainable for its investigators. The Spinal Cord Damage Research Center began to flourish, rapidly growing to have several clinical and basic scientific research programs. Over the decades, the Center has become nationally and internationally known for its high quality and relevant research in clinical investigation and basic science of the problems confronting persons with spinal cord injury. 


In 2014, Drs. Bauman and Spungen and their fellow investigators were recognized for their outstanding work to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals with spinal cord injury by receiving the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in Science and the Environment, one of the most prestigious awards bestowed upon federal scientists.